Dozens of people were laid off by Chicago-based Interfirst Mortgage last week, according to sources interviewed.
Because all departments are siloed and work remotely, it is hard to actually gauge the numbers, a former manager said. No WARN notices have been filed as of Tuesday.
But loan officers, processors, closers, were all impacted. Outsourced labor and the wholesale division was also partially cut. What remains is a “skeleton crew to take care of what’s still there,” a former employee said.
That source added that the consumer-direct shop, which is slowly rebranding to Zero Mortgage, blamed market conditions for the layoff round. This is at least the third layoff orchestrated by the company this year. Interfirst as of Tuesday counts 244 employees on Linkedin.
Interfirst Mortgage did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
“I wasn’t surprised that the layoff happened because we didn’t have any more loans in our pipeline,” the former manager said. “We had processors who a few months ago were processing 60 loans a piece that now don’t have any loans to work on.”
Unlike horror stories heard from mortgage personnel impacted by layoffs at other shops, those laid off by Interfirst have no complaints about how the lender presented the news.
They also have no complaints about benefits.
Employees let go last week will continue to receive a paycheck for 60 days and their health insurance will be active until the end of January. The company’s 401k match policy is also still intact. Former employees impacted by a massive layoff in May also say that they received amiable layoff conditions.
Interfirst also gave employees the option to purchase equipment provided by the company.
The company was one of the first origination shops to start shedding personnel last year, as refinance activity began to sputter. Aside from Interfirst, Better.com– a shop that relied heavily on refinancing– shed hundreds last year.
The forecast going forward for mortgage originations remains dim.
The Mortgage Bankers Association last month projected $2.257 trillion in volume by the end of the year, a notable fall from last year’s $4.4 trillion in originations. Originations are expected to rebound in 2024.
Following the third quarter earnings reporting period, major lenders such as CrossCountry Mortgage, Freedom Mortgage, Newrez, and Mr. Cooper implemented massive reductions to their workforce, and more layoffs are expected to hit the industry in the near future.